Updated: Apr 28, 2022
The intention to practice meditation is important for developing a habit but from there it is going to take a lot more to consistently return to the cushion for formal practice. There are many elements that can help you develop a habit of mindfulness meditation some of them include motivation, discipline, commitment, attitude and care. But despite you may be being fully aware of the benefits of practicing mindfulness it can still be really challenging to make time for it. Hopefully this article can help change that! The following are some helpful pointers for setting up your meditation space and starting your practice.
If you really want to make a difference in your life with this you're going to have to commit yourself and look beyond feelings of liking or disliking it that come up day to day. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says "You don't have to like it, you just have to do it." The problem is meditation is not always easy and we don't always enjoy it so having the expectation it's going to feel great all the time can be problematic. Some days feel good other days don't. I just sit on my cushion regardless of what I am feeling and having a time of day that has become my ritual has helped. For me that is first thing in the morning and sometimes before bed too. Figuring out when a good time of day is for you and begin doing it at that time everyday.
Another great motivation for starting your meditation practice is being really clear on your intention. That is your reason for practicing mindfulness meditation, putting energy into it and returning to it again and again. There are many different motivations like finding purpose, reducing stress, increasing self understanding, being 10% happier, more productive, creative and so forth. Once your motivation is discovered you can begin to develop a sense of wellbeing and even joyfulness at times too because it is connected to your why. Motivation also involves faith and conviction in your existence and being which can contribute to the right kind of effort you want to bring into you practice again and again.
Once you establish your commitment ensuring your'e cultivating a helpful way of practicing and that means infusing your practice with the mindfulness attitudes and focusing overtime of the four foundations of mindfulness; the body, the hedonic tone, the mind states and all phenomena. Meditation when not done skilfully can be of little help but when bringing the right kind of attitude, posture and intention to your practice meditation can be transformative. There is plenty of science showing that meditation practice over time can enhance brain plasticity and MRI's of meditators have shown that it improves connectivity in neural networks associated emotional regulation and impulse control.
Your mindfulness practice can be a sanctuary or place for you to retreat to, come into balance and self care. Treating the practice like it is your sacred time to reflect on and contemplate inner experiences and also work on approaching life in a simpler more direct way. You don't need anything special to achieve this, just taking up a dignified seat and giving yourself the space to really appreciate that you're meditating. I have two mindfulness meditation spaces set up at home. I have adorned my spaces with beautiful things that inspire me and that make the practice a place that feels special and authentic to me. I like to practice near a window with natural light or outside in nature. If indoors I have a plant, a salt lamp with a warm glow and some wooden ornaments I like. Lastly I have cushions and a blanket I can wrap around myself in the morning when I practice with the rising sun.
I don't like to meditate alone all the time, in fact I try to attend a retreat every year for a weeks long meditation and when I can practice in community also. This brings the element of connection and sharing of support and holding space into the mindfulness practice which is a beautiful thing. For this reason I have recently made the decision to offer my clients and community a regular mindfulness meditation group practice every week. It is held on Tuesday at 12.30pm and is online on Zoom. To join I am asking for a $55 a month contribution and you can attend up to 4 sessions every Victorian school term and cancel anytime. If you're keen to try it out subscribe and get a free trial session that is valid for a week. Find out more here https://www.marionmiller.com.au/mindfulness-group